It is Mother's Day. And I know that Karen wanted nothing more than to open the door this Mother's Day morning and see Luger standing at the gate, tail wagging and tongue hanging out of his laughing mouth, saying “Hi mom I’m home”. Nothing more than to get that phone call that says “I found your dog”.
Nothing more than to bury her face in his fur and let tears of relief rain down upon him.
But it wasn't to be. He is still out there, somewhere. We have combed the area where he was lost many times, people in harnesses and ropes have lowered themselves over the cliffs, binoculars have been used to view the canyon from the other side, her other dogs have been taken in, one at a time, to sniff for him or to draw him out. We have had tips of three legged shepherds being seen in Skutz Falls to the south, and near Nanaimo Lakes to the north, and of black dogs skulking behind mailboxes and zipping away. We have put up over a thousand posters, and are replacing and refreshing many for the second and third time. We have sat silently under bridges and along creeks, checked abandoned barns, driven countless roads and walked or ridden numerous trails. We have heard from five animal communicators, each with slightly different information, none precise enough to lead us to him.
It is a vast and beautiful area of mountains and rivers and trees and trails, and it is both heartbreaking and frustrating to even attempt to cover every inch of it.
Tonight, two friends and I attended a concert of Men of the Deeps, a group of retired and working miners from Cape Breton who entertained us with their songs and stories of working the mines. There was pathos in their words, for so much of mining history is about the uncertainty and fear of disasters that comes hand in hand with working miles under the earth and sea. And I found myself thinking, over and over again, of the similarities between a mother waiting for a miner to return to the surface and a mother waiting for a lost family member, canine or human, to come back home.
To the mothers of Canada's miners, may your sons and daughters always return home safely.
And to my friend Karen, may Luger also come back from the deeps.